In 2011 – and to a lesser extent in 2010, there was only one fight that garnered any serious attention with mainstream boxing fans. It was Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao. And to be honest, it’s STILL the only fight that mainstream fans care about. But if you’re a hardcore boxing fan like me there are more. And the first one of the year is Devon Alexander vs Timothy Bradley. Also, if you’re like me, this reminds you of another great fight from days gone past. Full preview and prediction after the jump.
First we have Devon Alexander who’s really an interesting boxer with pretty good skills – but not a world-class one. He has a pretty good punch, but not a knockout artist by any means. He’s truthfully a guy who needs to be more of a boxer than a puncher but doesn’t have the mindset for it. That’s Devon Alexander’s biggest problem. He gets so excited by hearing a roaring crowd that he can sometimes take his game plan and throw it right out the window. The Juan Urango knockout didn’t help with this.
Interestingly, he’s a bit like Meldrick Taylor in this way. Meldrick was as good a pure boxer as I have seen in the past 10 to 15 years. But his greatest strength, and weakness, was that he wanted to fight more than he wanted to box. And as we all saw when he fought Julio Cesar Chavez, that willingness to stand in front of a guy and trade is dangerous.
In a lot of ways this is a test of the same type for Devon Alexander. If he can keep himself from fighting on the inside he has a realistic chance to win this fight. Because the man he is facing WANTS that fight on the inside, he NEEDS that fight on the inside.
In a lot of ways Timothy Bradley is a cut-rate Julio Cesar Chavez. And this isn’t an insult to the man they call “Desert Storm” by any means. Rather an appreciation of just how good and BELOVED Chavez really was. Make no mistake: The Marquez brothers, Barrera, Morales, Margarito, and all of the great mexican fighters of this era owe a tremendous debt to JC Superstar and they’d be the first to admit it. He was the guy who became the idol, the guy who filled Azteca Stadium. And his pressuring, swarming, bodypunching style is as uniquely, intrinsically Mexican as Salma Hayek and a Rick Bayless cookbook.
So to say that Timothy Bradley is going to try to do to Devon Alexander what Chavez did to Meldrick Taylor, Greg Haugen, Edwin Rosario, and a whole bunch of others is a perfect compliment. Because I honestly believe the man has what it takes to drag Devon into deep waters and drown him there.
Now to the prediction: Timothy Bradley takes it. There is something about Devon Alexander that makes me think he’s not ready for this yet. Maybe it’s the way that he went life and death with Andrei Kotelnik, who Amir Khan boxed circles around for 12 rounds. Maybe it’s that he’s NEVER been in a fight this big. But whatever it is – it will rear its head here.